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on purpose

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1

Deliberately, intentionally, as in He left the photo out of the story on purpose. Shakespeare's use of this idiom was among the earliest; it appears in The Comedy of Errors (4:3): “On purpose shut the doors against his way.”

2

accidentally on purpose. Seemingly accidentally but actually deliberately, as in She stepped on his foot accidentally on purpose. This generally jocular phrase was first recorded in 1862.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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